Topic: Concerns About Superhero Films & Blockbuster Sequels

I hate Guardians of the Galaxy more than the next guy, (mainly for its screenplay) but, even I can admit DC's doesn't feature top notch writing all the time either.

Man of Steel Clip

shivers

Re: Concerns About Superhero Films & Blockbuster Sequels

Dyland wrote:

I hate Guardians of the Galaxy more than the next guy, (mainly for its screenplay) but, even I can admit DC's doesn't feature top notch writing all the time either.

Man of Steel Clip

shivers

Guardians is one of the best additions to the MCU, which has honestly revitalised the superhero genre as a whole (though Guardians isn't a superhero film itself); while other studios flounder, Marvel Studios seems to hit the mark almost every time (Thor 2, Hulk and Iron Man 2 being the only real exceptions). I don't understand your aversion to it, but hey, it takes all sorts. We can agree to disagree.

I actually agree with Smeagol. I used to be really excited for BvS but get less so with every trailer released, and the footage of Wonder Woman has dashed my hopes for that as well. I invite darker takes on iconic characters, but not for what will be the mainstream adaptations of DC material for years to come. Suicide Squad is the only film in their current lineup that merits a dark, gritty film; part of the joy of characters like Superman and Wonder Woman is in its visual vibrancy and, certainly in recent years in the comics, how artists and writers balance modern issues and post-modern severity with classic comic book tropes has made for some of the most interesting reads, DC's New 52 and Marvel's Infinity and Original Sin events being case-in-point. To ignore what makes the comics special in favour of what you think (and are wrong about) what a so-called mainstream audience wants is disrespectful to the original material, to its fans, and to the mainstream audience that Warner Bros is now patronising with its policy of desaturated visuals and 'edgy' tones.

Fant4stic exemplifies this. What makes the F4 good in the comics is how the stories embrace the ridiculous nature of the F4's powers, rogues gallery, and subject matter. They're fun reads, about a family of scientists using their powers and intelligence to solve brightly-coloured end of the world scenarios. Fant4stic was completely different, and shared no similarities to F4 bar characters' names, and the team's powers. So if what you want to make isn't an F4 movie, but a realistic exploration of the dangers of interdimensional travel, of PTSD and of extreme body horror, then why call it an F4 movie? Sure, having a brand attached rather than being an 'original' film will bring in more of an audience, but when they see it, they won't be dumb enough as to be fooled by your thinly-veiled commercial cynicism.

Besides, people are growing bored of dark, gritty and grey. It got stale years ago but managed to coast along; the commercial success of films like Guardians is mercifully making people demand better.

So I'm not looking forward to BvS, Wonder Woman or Justice League because I doubt they'll really be BvS, Wonder Woman or Justice League at all. Bring on Suicide Squad, though, for sure.

I hope I've explained that well enough, and that you can see what I mean.

As a side-note, if you want to see a good version of the Flash, I wouldn't hold out much hope for the film, but the TV series on CW is absolutely stellar and I couldn't recommend it enough. This is an example of good superhero storytelling: the protagonist's emotional arc is the core of the story, and the action (which is incredible) supplements and adds to that arc, as opposed to informing it (so many films and shows in general, not just of this genre, get this wrong). It's also brightly-coloured, the science holds up within the show's internal logic (though not the real world), and it revels in the source material. Superhero storytelling done right.

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"Nothing goes down 'less I'm involved. No nuggets. No onion rings. No nothin'. A cheeseburger gets sold in the park, I want in! You got fat while we starved on the streets...now it's my turn!" -Harley Morenstein

Re: Concerns About Superhero Films & Blockbuster Sequels

jampot wrote:

the MCU, which has honestly revitalised the superhero genre as a whole

Since when is churning out endless repetitive sequels, reboots, and spin-offs "revitalising" a genre?

Retribution (3rd place in BRAWL 2015)

&Smeagol      make the most of being surrounded by single, educated women your own age on a regular basis in college
AquaMorph    I dunno women are expensive

Re: Concerns About Superhero Films & Blockbuster Sequels

Mr Vertigo wrote:
jampot wrote:

the MCU, which has honestly revitalised the superhero genre as a whole

Since when is churning out endless repetitive sequels, reboots, and spin-offs "revitalising" a genre?

The thing is...they're not (aside from the three that I listed, and the upcoming Spider-Man reboot). That's just an opinion perpetuated by internet hate culture. The fact is that the MCU actually produces decent superhero films, something which most other studios have struggled to do (the only notable exceptions being TDKR trilogy, Spider-Man 1 and 2, and Fox's most recent two X-Men films).

The 'endless sequels, reboots and spin-offs' that people like to keep complaining about are a symptom of Hollywood in general, and I'm honestly sick and tired of people pinning the blame on the few good action blockbusters being released purely because they're not a fan of the genre, because that's exactly what happens. Should we just forget about the current state of the Terminator, Pirates of the Carribean, Transformers, Fast and Furious, and apparently now Independence Day franchises? Because internet hate culture likes to.

http://www.brickshelf.com/gallery/ZoefDeHaas/stuff/sig1.png
"Nothing goes down 'less I'm involved. No nuggets. No onion rings. No nothin'. A cheeseburger gets sold in the park, I want in! You got fat while we starved on the streets...now it's my turn!" -Harley Morenstein

Re: Concerns About Superhero Films & Blockbuster Sequels

jampot wrote:
Mr Vertigo wrote:
jampot wrote:

the MCU, which has honestly revitalised the superhero genre as a whole

Since when is churning out endless repetitive sequels, reboots, and spin-offs "revitalising" a genre?

The thing is...they're not (aside from the three that I listed, and the upcoming Spider-Man reboot). That's just an opinion perpetuated by internet hate culture. The fact is that the MCU actually produces decent superhero films, something which most other studios have struggled to do (the only notable exceptions being TDKR trilogy, Spider-Man 1 and 2, and Fox's most recent two X-Men films).

The 'endless sequels, reboots and spin-offs' that people like to keep complaining about are a symptom of Hollywood in general, and I'm honestly sick and tired of people pinning the blame on the few good action blockbusters being released purely because they're not a fan of the genre, because that's exactly what happens. Should we just forget about the current state of the Terminator, Pirates of the Carribean, Transformers, Fast and Furious, and apparently now Independence Day franchises? Because internet hate culture likes to.

Where did I imply that this trend is somehow exclusive to Marvel films, or that the rest of Hollywood is flawless in this regard?  There's a difference between "internet hate culture" and legitimate criticism.  If anything, the internet is more prone to obsessively fanboying over these films than anything else.  It's not that I have an inherent hate of superhero movies, I even want to like them to some extent.  But I generally have an aversion to having a bunch of repetitive and over-saturated movies shoved in my face while everyone keeps harping on about how they're so cool and amazing and the best thing ever (I'm not saying you personally do that, this is more an observation of, for want of better description, nerd culture in general). 

Case in point: since 2008, we've had three Iron Mans, two Captain Americas, Guardians of the Galaxy, two Thors, two Spider-mans, a Hulk, Fantasic 4, countless X-Men, two Avengers, and in the immediate future we'll be getting Inhumans, Ant-Man, Dr Strange, Black Panther, TWO Avengers back-to-back (because seemingly every sequel is split into two parts these days), another Captain America, Deadpool, another Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and a new Spiderman reboot (again), and that's probably not even an exhaustive list.  And this isn't even factoring in TV shows such as Jessica Jones, Agents of SHIELD, Daredevil, et al.  Whether or not you enjoy the genre (and I don't hold it against anyone if they do), you can't deny that they're part of the problem.

And claiming that they're "the few good action blockbusters" is... well... I don't even know what to say to that.  To their credit, I can't say that the Marvel films are bad per se.... but they're boring.  There's no character development or change in status quo since all the main characters have to appear in sequels.  You already know how The Avengers will end before the opening credits have finished, and the film itself is stuffed so full of characters and action and references that there's no real room for development or meaningful tension.  New York is destroyed, yet everyone goes on their happy merry way and there is no apparent impact on the rest of the world.  The most egregious example of this is when

Spoiler (click to read)

Coulson dies.  Fury then proceeds to unite the squabbling heroes in the cheesiest, most predicable, Power-of-Friendship/Patriotic Sacrifice/blood-spattered personal memento way possible.  Except that it turns out Coulson is actually alive because of the power of plot convenience and Agents of SHIELD!  So his supposed "sacrifice" is actually meaningless,

and what is supposed to be an emotional turning point is completely undermined.  And judging by Age of Ultron, The Avengers haven't learned their lesson about working together either...  Even The Force Awakens, which is arguably even more rooted in nostalgia and derivative in certain respects, manages to raise the stakes and keep things dynamic by killing off a prominent character, amongst other things.

I'm not saying that this problem is only present in Marvel films, far from it (coincidentally, I read a pretty interesting article on that recently).  But holding them up as a shining example of cinema blockbusters done right is hardly fair, either.  I have to say that I'm interested in films such as Deadpool and Suicide Squad (although I have my doubts), as it looks like they're doing interesting and new things with the genre (which is what these films should be doing).  But on the whole, if anything, these films are doing the opposite of "revitalising" the superhero genre.

Last edited by Mr Vertigo (January 22, 2016 (02:59am))

Retribution (3rd place in BRAWL 2015)

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AquaMorph    I dunno women are expensive

Re: Concerns About Superhero Films & Blockbuster Sequels

jampot wrote:

Guardians is one of the best additions to the MCU, which has honestly revitalised the superhero genre as a whole...

Besides, people are growing bored of dark, gritty and grey. It got stale years ago but managed to coast along; the commercial success of films like Guardians is mercifully making people demand better.

Movies... they sure don't make them like they used to, huh?

My main gripes with Guardians of the Galaxy is in its use of crude language and how it portrays its characters. I'm a pretty big Chris Pratt fan, (I've watched several of his films now, and, used to watch Parks and Recreation from time to time) and, really loved what he brought to the characters of Emmet from The Lego Movie and Owen in Jurassic World.

Specifically in the latter, his portrayal made the film much more interesting to me. He perfected the average guy turned leading man within the confines of just over 2 hours, saving people, standing up to the scary beasts brought back to life, and still cracking jokes along the way.

Actually, I started to really care about the film so much, I was really angry when it DIDN'T end on this shot... Yeah, I was so hooked in, only bad editing decisions snapped me out of the cinematic experience - and that doesn't happen very often, especially when I start out not really liking the film.

But, while the character of Owen wasn't shy to throw around some minor curses every once in a while - it really fit his character. He's some low-wage worker at a theme park, he becomes Indiana Jones-ish; it makes sense. However, Starlord and a raccoon, in my opinion, had much less of a reason to... Especially in a film marketed toward children. (Sure, it's PG-13, but, that's more-so Disney's fault for making the toys, the games, the LEGO tie-ins)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is full of minor curses, flashy but almost pointless action sequences, and, usually features humor that I'd associate with being "click bait" just for the lowest common denominator... And none of that's the Marvel comics I grew up with. However, the dark and gritty, dull blue tinted world of the current DC cinematic Universe is just as disruptive...

I loved The Dark Knight, and still do, however, its color correction (or color grading, or "digital look"... whatever you want to call it) almost made me sick at first. A dull green-hued atmosphere fit The Matrix series because, it was supposed to be a little nod to what "world" was being shown. However, dull teal (and strong orange) like that featured in the Transformers films is really not to my liking.

I prefer the bright reddish and deep, rich vivid colors of The Mummy, Raiders of the Lost Ark, or even The Asylum's Sherlock Holmes... but that's purely on a visual basis. Story-wise, I could almost care less if its really thought provoking or just something fun to waste time away with some popcorn. I love watching movies, and, will certainly watch a lot more - no matter the genre, subject matter, or time period. I just love watching films.

However, because the Superhero genre is my second favorite, (Superman: The Movie, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Superman Returns, Spider-Man 2... anyone?) it's sad to see the day when the two opposing studios exaggerate to both ends of the spectrum (light and comical, dark and gritty) and it isn't to my liking.

I long for the day when the current "superhero movie craze" dies down a little... Then, they'll have to be much more competitive - and hopefully, then revitalize the genre.

Can't wait until they start making them like they used to...

Re: Concerns About Superhero Films & Blockbuster Sequels

I agree with Mr Vertigo that MCU just makes meh movies. Although they do have a good number of terrible films. I still can't makes my mind up if Iron Man 2 or Iron Man 3 is the worst movie I have ever watched. I have a disdain for the connected universe thing. At first, I thought it was a neat idea but as time has gone on I have realized it is a disaster. It has become clear Marvel has to plan where they are going and because of that the character arcs in those movies are terrible. Tony Stark for example has no real change as a person after the first Iron Man to Iron Man 3.

The connected universe thing is a great marketing gimmick to make you suffer through bad movies so the one movie you actually want to see will makes some senses. None of the Marvel movies do a good job of standing alone which is OK if you are going for a series but they are not. They keep just slamming more and more characters hope that the bigger spectacle will lead to box office sales which seems to be working.

Re: Concerns About Superhero Films & Blockbuster Sequels

You are all correct; it does get a bit overwhelming, and each movie is dependent on the others where they're not standing on their own, and it's like the comics' universe, where readers are encouraged to get every issue every month.

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"None practice tolerance less frequently than those who most loudly preach it."

Re: Concerns About Superhero Films & Blockbuster Sequels

HoldingOurOwn wrote:

You are all correct; it does get a bit overwhelming, and each movie is dependent on the others where they're not standing on their own, and it's like the comics' universe, where readers are encouraged to get every issue every month.

Yeah that's a pretty good summary of it. I do not think it makes for good movies but other people enjoy them so let them have their fun.

Re: Concerns About Superhero Films & Blockbuster Sequels

AquaMorph wrote:

It has become clear Marvel has to plan where they are going and because of that the character arcs in those movies are terrible. Tony Stark for example has no real change as a person after the first Iron Man to Iron Man 3.

If anything, it seems that Marvel is over-planning to me.  They've mapped out out their release schedule for the next five years at least.  The problem is that the main characters are subsequently locked into a fixed pattern and are contractually obliged to appear in multiple sequels and cross-overs for years to come.  This kills off any tension because you know you will see them in another movie 2 years down the road.

Honestly, I'd much rather see big-budget movies based off other pre-existing intellectual property, like say, BioShock, Fallout, or even Half-Life 2.  I'd argue that each of these has a world and storyline/lore just as rich and deep, if not more so, as any comic-book universe.  It's actually surprising that this hasn't been done before--while video-game film adaptations have a notoriously poor track record, gaming is now just as big a business as cinema, and even hires Hollywood talent to do voice-acting on a regular basis.  The hype for Fallout 4 shows that there'd be a market for this.  Plus several prominent figures in the film industry (such as Guillermo del Toro) are well-known to be fans of video games.  And I highly doubt that any halfway competent director could possibly do worse than Iron Man 2.

Dyland wrote:

But, while the character of Owen wasn't shy to throw around some minor curses every once in a while - it really fit his character. He's some low-wage worker at a theme park, he becomes Indiana Jones-ish; it makes sense. However, Starlord and a raccoon, in my opinion, had much less of a reason to... Especially in a film marketed toward children. (Sure, it's PG-13, but, that's more-so Disney's fault for making the toys, the games, the LEGO tie-ins)

I haven't seen Guardians of the Galaxy, but I can't say I follow your logic.  From what I understand, Star-Lord et al. are career criminals, mercenaries, and assorted scum and villainy in general.   It wouldn't make any sense for them to get hung up on some "minor curses".  Despite me generally having an aversion to excessive bad language (or violence, etc.),  and I don't have much of a problem with it if it's done well.  It highly depends on the context of the film and how well it fits.  For example, I actually don't mind the dialogue (or most mature content, for that matter) in Pulp Fiction.  Pretty much all of the characters in the story are mobsters, hitmen who blow off other people's heads for a living, or in some way connected to the underworld.  In that light it would be strange and jarring for them to be picky about something comparatively facile such as swearing.  Now, if nuns or school-children started talking like that, on the other hand...

I loved The Dark Knight, and still do, however, its color correction (or color grading, or "digital look"... whatever you want to call it) almost made me sick at first.

You do realise The Dark Knight was shot on 70mm film with IMAX cameras, right?

I'll admit I much preferred the art direction of Batman Begins, with a gritty, modern-day Blade Runner-esque feel, but it makes sense for Gotham to be portrayed the way it is in The Dark Knight.  The gleaming, orderly, blue-tinted city is meant to contrast the Joker's anarchy, it being a clean slate for him to bring disorder to.  Order vs Chaos, if you will.

I prefer the bright reddish and deep, rich vivid colors of The Mummy, Raiders of the Lost Ark, or even The Asylum's Sherlock Holmes... but that's purely on a visual basis.

The Asylum's Sherlock Holmes]



Really, Dyland?  Really?

Last edited by Mr Vertigo (January 26, 2016 (07:36pm))

Retribution (3rd place in BRAWL 2015)

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AquaMorph    I dunno women are expensive

Re: Concerns About Superhero Films & Blockbuster Sequels

A character's personality not changing doesn't mean that it's bad.  In the Indiana Jones movies, Indy's the same kind of person through the whole franchise, for example.  And Stark does develop a bit within Iron Man 1.

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"None practice tolerance less frequently than those who most loudly preach it."